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EU/South Korea Free-Trade Agreement: perseverance has paid off

Date

18 Feb 2011

Sections

Global Europe
Trade & Society

After months of difficult negotiations with the European Commission and the Council, the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg today gave its assent on a treaty establishing a free-trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea. ALDE who was especially watchful as to the.terms of the special safeguard provision which accompanies the implementation of this agreement, highlights the importance of this result for future European trade policy.

Michael THEURER (FDP, Germany), ALDE shadow rapporteur said: "We shouldn't underestimate the potential of this agreement in terms of competitiveness for our industry, market openings in intellectual property as well as in labour standards. Nonetheless, over 5 years this will lead to the suppression of 98% of customs duties and other trade barriers that hit industrial and agricultural products as well as EU export services. This agreement should allow European exports to South Korea to double and boost growth and job creation. ".

"Moreover, thanks to the bilateral safeguard clause, we meet the legitimate concerns of our industry".

"As South Korea is in a critical phase in its relations with its northern neighbour, this free-trade agreement sends a strong signal from the EU to this country which promises to become a major economic power in Asia."

 
Niccolo RINALDI (IdV, Italiy), member of the Committee on International Trade, added: "Given the interests at stake, there is no room for error as this bilateral agreement is the first in a series that are in negotiations. We insist that in the future the Commission refuse all clauses allowing our partners to profit from dutydraw back. The cooperation between the Parliament and the Commission proved to be crucial. The role of the Parliament after Lisbon must be fully recognized".

Marielle de SARNEZ (MoDem, France), member of the Committee on International Trade, concluded: "The safeguard clause, secured with difficulty by the European Parliament, must serve as a model for future bilateral or regional agreements.  The European Commission must not let down our European industry and must guarantee the effective implementation of this mechanism so as to protect our industries in the case of unfair competition."

For more information, please contact / Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez contacter:
Corlett Neil - Tel:+32 2 284 20 77 Mob:+32 478 78 22 84
Laude Yannick - Tel:+32 2 284 31 69 Mob:+32 495 22 78 37
Web: http://www.alde.eu

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